British Islamic school hits back in 'offensive' textbook dispute
LONDON − A Saudi-funded London Islamic school at the center of a media storm over textbooks containing offensive references to Judaism and Christianity said yesterday it had removed controversial chapters.
A teacher, who is taking action against the King Fahd Academy in west London after being sacked, provoked the row after he told a newspaper pupils were taught to hate non-Muslims and that some had been heard praising Osama bin Laden.
'The allegations made by a disgruntled ex-employee are grossly offensive, highly inflammatory and entirely without foundation,' said Sumaya Alyusuf, the school's director.
Britain's Muslims have been in the spotlight since four British Islamists carried out suicide bombings on London?s transport system in July 2005, killing 52 passengers.
Some commentators have accused Muslim organizations of not doing enough to counter extremism or of even encouraging it, while many Islamic groups feel they have been unfairly targeted, particularly by the media, for the actions of a minority.
The teacher, who is suing the school for unfair dismissal, sparked the latest furor by saying the academy used a textbook about the Koran that made racist remarks. An early Islamic scholar was quoted in the book as saying: 'The monkeys are the Jews and the pigs are the Christian infidels at Jesus' table.'
Alyusuf said the controversial chapters had never been taught at the school and that the quote was based on a mis-translation that appeared only as an explanatory footnote.
However, she said the offending pages had now been cut out of the textbooks, and she had informed the Saudi Department of Education of the decision.